About Me

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Hi there! I'm a first grade teacher in the heart of Kansas. I'm a firm believer in loving a lot, living a full life and, of course, teaching! I enjoy cooking, Pinteresting, a great cup of coffee in the morning and a good glass of wine at night. I'd love to get to know others in the blogging world, so please leave a comment so I can get to know you too!
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Friday, April 26, 2013

Five for Friday

TGIF!!!  Wowza, this week was a doozie!  Here were some of the more positive highlights :)

1.  This week definitely needed a caffeine boost.  What better way than a piping hot Starbucks on a rainy day?

2.  A student brought me the most beautiful tulip!  It opened up throughout the day and brought a smile to my face every time I passed by! 

3.  Date Night with my guy!  We had a delicious sushi dinner out and then saw the movie 42, which obviously had to include Junior Mints. (Great movie, by the way!)

4.  High School students came to visit our class to teach our kiddos sign language.  Not only were my little babies excited to show me all the signs they learned (Ms. Fowler, this means giraffe! Watch this!  I can sign "popcorn"!), but it was also an excellent teaching opportunity about accepting differences in others.  We strayed from my lesson plans to talk about differences in communication, sight, learning and body types and why we need to always look at what is on the inside of a person.  My little ones were so earnest to share their hearts!  I'm one proud teacher :)

5.  One of my little ones who has come soooooo far this year and exceeded my expectations from when he first arrived at our school wrote me this note:
I love my Fowler I got Kookabirds

Apparently I am right up there with his beloved Angry Birds game.  I'll gladly accept :)

How was your week?  Link up here and share!  Don't forget to comment or follow the two bloggers before you!


Monday, April 22, 2013

Favorite Spots in My Classroom and A Freebie (just because it's Monday!)

I'm linking up with Flying Into First Grade's "Let's Get Acquainted" party again!  This week's theme is to share our three favorite areas in our classrooms!

1.  My calendar board
I think this area is special to me for many reasons.  Our morning meetings are centered around this calendar board, and that is one of my favorite times with the kiddos as we share about ourselves.  As much as I love teaching, it's also so worthwhile to take a little time to truly get to know my little ones.  I also feel proud of this board because I spent a summer painting (yes painting!) all of my bulletin boards.  This bright blue took forever to go on just right, but in the end it was worth it! (can you say buh-bye to trying to make huge butcher paper fit perfectly?!)  I think having a calendar board like this one is also an excellent resource for students to use for math, science, reading and everything else!

2.  "Watch Us Grow" board:

My classroom door is settled back into a nice little nook and I can decorate both sides of my "doorway".  My mom also happens to be a first grade teacher (I swear, teaching is genetic!) and I always admired this idea that she does every year with her classroom.  Each month, I pose the kiddos to take a class photo and display them as we go through the school year, with the month written at the bottom.  It's so fun to be able to see how the kiddos change from August to May!  They also feel quite grown up when they look back on how many teeth they have lost since then and how awesome their newest haircuts look now :)

3.  My Art Museum

While this may not be anything I created personally, it is one of my favorite parts of my classroom.  Whenever I'm feeing low or stressed, at some point in the day I can't help but catch one of these lovelies out of the corner of my eye and I remember why I do my job each day.  I think it's easy to sometimes get caught up in the overload of Common Core/Report Cards/IEP Meetings/Parent Conferences and while we don't forget why we teach, we may not see as much of the joy as we'd like.  These pieces of art bring me joy :)

Aaaaaand here is your freebie!

Just a simple addition dice roll, but prettied up for spring!  Students roll a die (or two dice, or my personal favorite, the double-die) and create an addition problem to write in the boxes.  Students may then count up the dots, use their number lines or mental math to solve.  For a challenge, I have my kiddos roll the die twice to get one addend (EX: Student rolls a five and then a four.  She writes nine in the first box).  This helps them practice more math facts up to adding 12.  You can print these out as worksheets, or you can put laminate them or put them in a page protector for the students to use over and over with dry erase markers.  Click the image to download!

Have a favorite spot in your classroom you want to share?  Link up here! Don't forget to follow or comment on the last two bloggers!  Enjoyed my freebie?  Let me know!  I love to hear from other teachers!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Fractions are SWEET! (and a mini-freebie!)

This week we started studying fractions, and whoo-hoo are my babies loving it!  I'm so proud of them! We started with the basics of 1/2 and 1/4 fractions.  To help them physically see fractions in everyday objects, I treated each student to a graham cracker.  I gave the students a piece of construction paper that was creased in half and labeled on each side and challenged them to figure out how to put the exact same amount of graham cracker on each side.  I loved that some students broke their crackers the "short way" while some others broke theirs the "long way"!  We were able to discuss that both were correct forms of halves and that was because they both showed one piece out of two equal pieces.

Next, each student was given a piece of construction paper that was divided into fourths.  I asked the students to figure out how to divide their crackers so they had four equal pieces.  By now, we were really rolling!  Some of my budding mathematicians even made the connections that 2/4 was the same as 1/2! 

The next day, we reviewed what we knew about halves and fourths and then discussed thirds, fifths and sixths.  I explained to the students that any number could be the denominator as long as all the pieces were equal, but these are some of the most common fractions.  These would also be the fractions we would use in our Ice Cream Fraction Craftivity!

To make it fair and still ensure all students were understanding what different fractions were, I wrote the numbers 2-6 on scrap pieces of paper and put them in a bucket.  The students drew out a number and that became their denominator for their Ice Cream Fraction Craftivity.  

We then decided on the flavors of ice cream they could choose:
Pink - Strawberry
Green - Mint Chocolate Chip
Orange - Orange
Purple - Berry
Brown - Chocolate
White - Vanilla

Then I put them to work to make their fractions out of ice cream scoops (each scoop was an equal piece of the whole ice cream cone).  The kiddos were very thoughtful in their ice cream flavor selection and were mindful of what they wanted their fraction cones to look like. (I wonder if if they would be this thoughtful about all their classwork if I tied the lessons to desserts...)  After carefully cutting and assembling, each student wrote what his or her ice cream cone was made up of in terms of fractions.

Aren't these just so sweet??  (Haha, see what I did there? Sweet art work...sweet treat!)  We had so much fun working on these today and I know my little ones are understanding fractions quite well after our hands-on activities.

Want to make your own Ice Cream Fraction Craftivity?  Click here or the image below for your own copy of the recording sheet!
(font by Learning Tree/Kimberly Santana)


Monday, April 15, 2013

Skittles Game

I'm linking up again with Flying Into First Grade's "Let's Get Acquainted" Linky Party!  This week we are playing the Skittles Game.  It goes a little something like this:

TOPIC - Skittles Game
Here is the code:
Red- Favorite Ice Cream Flavor
Orange- Favorite Memory from College
Yellow- Favorite Sports Team
Green- Favorite Fast Food Place
Purple- Wild Card(Tell anything about yourself)

Red: My favorite Ice Cream Flavor?? That's like picking a favorite child!  I love all ice cream and I seriously have some nearly every night.  If I have to choose though, I'd say mint chocolate chip.  It's so yummy and refreshing!

Orange:  Favorite Memory from College
My senior year of college, my beloved Jayhawks won the Orange Bowl in football and the National Championship in basketball!  I also lived in a house with six other sorority sisters and we felt like the world was ours.  It was definitely a great year, and I'd have to say the National Championship goes down as one of the best memories of my life. 

Celebrating on the popular Mass Street in downtown Lawrence
after our basketball team beat Memphis in overtime for the win!

Yellow:  My favorite college sports team is obviously my Kansas Jayhawks!  I love all things crimson and blue and I think the Jayhawk is just adorable.  If you're talking about a pro team, I was also a born and raised Dallas Cowboy Fan.  If you question whether or not I'm an optimist or not, look at the Cowboys' season and the heartbreak they put us through and the fact that I'm still a diehard fan.  You'll see lots of optimism :)
When I was at Cowboys Stadium a few weeks ago, someone had stuck a Jayhawk sticker next to a picture of a Cowboys hat so I had to snap a pic.  It was the best of my sports coming together!

Green:  Favorite fast food...hmm, this is a toughie!  I honestly don't eat a lot of fast food, but I have to admit that Chick-Fil-A is hard to pass up!  Gimme some of that Chick-Fil-A sauce and an oreo shake, please!

Purple:  Ah!  I feel like I'm on the spot to think of something super interesting to share here!  Today I met with my first grade team and we planned our final field trip of the year to the Humane Society.  We thought this would be a wonderful way to continue our Character Trait lessons about caring, responsibility, trustworthiness, citizenship and respect, not to mention kiddos love animals!  I'm so excited to go on this field trip and see all the sweet animals.  I have a soft spot for rescuing animals.  After all, my baby was a humane society kitty once :)


Think you want to join in on the Skittles game fun?  Link up here!  Make sure you comment or follow the two blogs that posted prior to your post to help us all get acquainted!


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Springing Into Math Centers and a Freebie!

As I write this, a nasty cold front is heading my way.  Like it's so nasty, that we are going from short sleeves and sandals today to coats and boots tomorrow.  However, I refuse to let winter crush my springtime spirits by sharing my latest Springtime Math Activities! 

Sorts, whether the word or number kind, are so student-friendly.  I can easily see if they understand the concept without having to spend a lot of time giving instructions.  

I loved creating this Rainbow Fact Families sort!  I think it turned out to be quite cute and it can be used with the number cards to place on the mats as a sort OR you can laminate the Rainbow Fact Family mat and have the students simply write the numbers with a dry erase marker before recording them on the worksheet.

My students this year often need reinforcement with number order, so I like using "greater than/less than" activities to help them to recognize numbers and understand the value of numbers in the tens and ones places. 


Ah, I feel spring coming back to me through these math activities!  To download previews or snag the whole activity pack, visit my TPT store.  For just a little fun spring math practice, here is a Missing Number Addition worksheet!  Click the image to download for your own springtime kiddos :)


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted!

Happy Sunday!  I'm linking up with Flying into First Grade for her weekly Let's Get Acquainted Linky.  It's seriously such a fun way to learn all about fellow bloggers!  This week's topic is:  Stranded on an Island - What three things would you have to take with you?

1.  It's sad to say, but I'd definitely need my iPhone.  I think we can all agree that these handy Smart Phones have become a way of life.

2.  My Man :)  He just got home from traveling for work for nearly three weeks, so I'm definitely not letting him out of my sight again so soon!

3.  A Beach Bag!  Hey, if I'm going to be on an island, I'm turning it into a vacation!  I'd have the bag full of sunscreen, gossip magazines, a good book, headphones, and fun beach games.  Ok, so maybe I'm stretching this a little bit because the bag holds more than one item...but a beach vacation sounds so amazing right now!

What would you bring?  Link up here!


Friday, April 5, 2013

Five for Friday

Ah, I love Fridays :)

I've linked up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for the weekly Five for Friday post.  Here's what I've got this week:

1. I had a lovely trip with some girlfriends/KU alums down to Dallas for the Sweet Sixteen.  While we didn't exactly get the outcome we hoped for as far as basketball goes, we still had a ton of fun!

In other basketball news, the Wichita State Shockers are moving on to the Final Four!  Even though my heart is full of Jayhawk pride, I can't help but feel so excited for this team. 

My parents attended WSU and in light of this amazing time in Shocker basketball history, I dug this little beauty up:

Seriously, babies in the 80s looked hilarious.  I was no exception.  Also, I'm pretty sure my dad still has that shirt.

2. Sunday was a wonderful day to celebrate Easter.  It's one of my favorite holidays for many reasons, but I was only able to snap a picture of the "sweetest" aspect.  Apparently everyone knows my great love of the Reese's Eggs and I was even given a giant mega-egg!  (which, I'll admit, kind of intimidates me.  That's a lot of pressure to eat that hefty treat!).  As I was taking a picture of my sweets, the Easter Cat apparently decided it was the perfect time to photobomb.  

And wow, was my furry friend everywhere!  Both of these handsome fellas curled up for some quality TV time Sunday evening.  I'm not sure how My Man will feel about this picture being out for the world to see, but I think it's adorbs :)

3. I found this darling wooden sign on accident and had to snag it immediately.  I LOVED the book The Help and I think this simple quote is so powerful.  It's on my mantle for a little daily inspiration.

4. Ok, I know everyone has seen this commercial, but I die laughing every time I see it (which seems to have been a lot this week).  I swear that I have had this exact conversation before with students in my class!  AT&T does not know who I am or endorse me for sharing this.  I just think it's hilarious. 

5.  One of my students' favorite centers is called Post Office, in which they are given prompts to write letters to others.  I found this on my desk earlier this week:

Dear Ms. Fowler,
You have ben the best teachr.  you make my hart worme.

It's the little things like this that make my heart warm, too :)

Link up here to share your Five for Friday!

Have a wonderful weekend!


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

hOW'd You Like A Freebie? Find OUt here!

See what I did there?  Yes, I'm emphasizing -ow and -ou words in this post and no, I'm not a teenage girl on AIM :)

This week and next, I'll be teaching my students about words with the -ow and -ou sounds.  I'm sure many of you teach in districts that are transitioning into Common Core and if you're like me, you're also getting a new report card to go with it.  I have been working to create literacy activities that can help me assess in small groups through activities and see exactly how students are learning while still collecting the necessary data for our standards-based report card.  Here is a sample of what my kiddos and I have been having fun with this week!  Click here to snag it and download a preview on TPT.

Posters for both -ou and -ow words

I tell ya, having posters displayed as we learn new letter/sound combinations is so helpful for my kiddos that need visual reminders.  I use these posters to introduce the sounds and hang them near my word wall for the students to reference.  I think seeing the -ou and -ow in big, bold letters on the poster also helps them remember the sound as they are reading other texts.

Word Sort and Recording Sheet


I am obsessed with this game!  You might recognize it as "Bang!" or "Pop!" but I used the word MOO! to fit the theme.  My students absolutely LOVE this game and it is incredibly easy to differentiate.  I can have some of my babies that need extra attention work on only a few cards at a time, or I can have my students that need more of a challenge play the game and use the word in a sentence.  Meanwhile, what none of the students know is I'm gathering some wonderful data for their report cards!  Muah-ha-ha!

Write the Room and Recording Sheet

Memory Game Cards

A classic, but a keeper!  My kiddos love playing Memory with our sound skill of the week.  I use this game as an option for my early finishers and they choose this over the iPad most days! 

 And nOW I have two freebies for you that go along with my Cows Out on the Town unit!  Click here to download, or visit my TPT store for the entire unit.

Hope you guys enjoyed previewing my newest creation!

 peace OUt nOW,